After the season was over and taking the display down...I took a break and grabbed a bite for lunch. When I came back I found a plastic bag full of mini lights and a note attached. This makes it what makes it worth while!!!
Well it was truly a great season. Only had one or two nights right at Thanksgiving that gave me fits with the CGFI sockets. Otherwise things went very smoothly. I came back from visiting my folks in Alabama right after Christmas to find the controllers...well kind of "stupid". They were turning things on that shouldn't be, not turning other channels on, etc. I hope that didn't go on for more than what I saw! A reboot of the system cured it though. Have to remember to reboot every so often next year.
Turns out my power bill was just about $25.00 or so dollars more than last year. However, it literally doubles from what a normal month without the lights on. (Over $100.00 more) Even though I added LED lights in the bushes instead of white incandescent lights, I did add GREEN lights in the bushes...so I guess that might cancel out each other. I also added 2 more arches, added green to the 16 mini trees, split the mega tree in half (one sided mega trees) and I guess that in some ways (with the mega tree) kept half the tree still lit when before it wasn't. Also added the 7 snowflakes, Rainbow Floods,....so in all by really double the light count, it wasn't so bad. ;-)
LOOKING TOWARDS NEXT YEAR
I have to start earlier next year!!!!
Oh my gosh! That is a understatement! New Year's resolution;
1) You have to have your setup planned out earlier this year!
A) What was it...some 13 changes in the over all setup? That can't happen next year for sure! Find a date to finish setup design...and stick with it!
2) You have to have your sequences done earlier!
A) Of course you have to know what the setup is going to be before hand.
B) Do you really want to have a 45 minute show? Decide early on what your keeping from last year then go from there.
1) Possibly add a 15 second, "Here's what coming up next" and let people decide whether to move on or not. Traffic will be higher next year, so plan that out too.
2) Maybe have different "Shows" playing. Break it down in to "Kids Show", "Traditional Show", "Religious Show", etc. I know that Melanie wanted me to do different "Show Nights". Think about that. Maybe ask on the board.
3) You have to do some of the setup in the first week of Nov.!
A) Are you going to do a Halloween show? Something to consider. You could at least have up the gutter lights and Rainbow Floods / Spots.
MEGA TREES - I think one of the things I need to look at is using the separate controller for the OTHER mega tree. Will have to look at the amp count, but really think I could have gotten away with ONE controller for both trees. That would have freed up 16 channels!!! I really liked the trees on either side of the whole setup though. Maybe I should consider putting the tree in the center of the pine island again. The only thing there would be that I need to look at what on the house it will block! I know that we would have to move around the snowflakes if I do that. I saw "Big Bubba's" spiral tree in Newnan this year. Really like that design. However, really want to keep those vertical lines as well. If I go again with the one sided trees, the spiral design might be hard to do. I may look at some sort of custom (as if all of this is pre-canned!) design for the spirals.
I really want to make the trees taller. What..mine this year were something like 10ft? I really would like to go up another 5ft at least and make the base wider. I still think the one sided method for my yard would be best, but going up taller is a big issue since I don't have a ladder that would go that high. Over at Gordonlights.com, he used a steel structure you could climb! Me being chicken of heights doesn't help...but 15ft isn't so high. Guess we will see.
Need to maybe think about finding 2 sections of Rohn 25 tower. Maybe putting a concrete form in the pine island...maybe a tower plate. Turn the tower so that one leg is pointed at the street.(People reading this that has no idea what I am talking about...the tower is a triangle in shape. Point the top of the triangle towards the street is basically what I am saying here.) Use carbine clips to secure the light lines with at the top. The one leg pointing towards the street, You could attach the star there.
On the spiral idea....maybe could still do the one sided thing...but just go ahead and wrap the strings on the back side too for that. You could actually wrap it tighter and save some string lengths.
Snowflakes - Had a lot of folks comment on those. Really liked how those turned out and they were so easy to make. I do know that I am going to "Spot" all of those next year. That means I may have to buy another DC board though :-( Or...change up some sequences to double up on some DC channels. Have to look at locations if you move that tree too!
Mini Trees - I REALLY liked having more than one color. Just have to make more use of it though. Using the "Grid" to act as extension cords? Neat idea, but really not visible because of the trees blocking them. Either do away with them or move those trees right up against the road. Not sure if I want to do that (move the trees). Like them better in the one line. Much easier to see and also much easier to sequence. Will have to add red to them though for sure! Will experiment with the RED LED's from Walmart to see if I can get away with few RED strings. Would be nice!
Arches - I think those are more noticeable now. Having 2 in 2009 just didn't cut it. Probably will keep the "doubled" channels on those (arch 1 did the same thing as arch 4,etc.). Unless I hit the Jackpot or win the lottery...won't change this (adding a controller to this element).
North Pole and Twig Tree - I pretty much doubled every thing on this each time. Something to look at...double up on this!!! Check amp counts and see if that will work. Frees up 3 channels!!! Of course, if you add to the North Pole (add little ones...) and also add to the Twig Tree (remember you have the one green one...you need to paint white and the very small one)...that might change.
Adding RED!!! - Have to do this! Need to buy some RED LED's from Vall at Christmas-leds.com (think that is the right address) and look for more RED LED's (Walmart Brand). You would only be adding to the bushes (9 to 12 strings), the gutter LED's (5 36 count strings) and then decide on how many for the mini trees.
Extension Cords! - or what not to do! One thing that has to change for next year is using...64 strings of lights as extension cords! Oh my gosh what a mess! I have to get some SPT1 cord and make up some custom cut extension cords! Need to check on prices. Maybe I can get this cheap from my sister who works for an electrical contractor.
I know there will be more changes later. Might be some time before I add more to the blog. As you can tell...this is really my "Notebook Online" for my Christmas Light Display. I am sure the above will change as the season goes on. Light O Rama is coming out with new products I might be looking at. Unfortunately though, it may be cost prohibitive. RGB is the new thing happening with light displays. In the DIY groups, many people are getting into this cheaply. However, the Light O Rama solutions are not cheap right now. This might be changing as they update software....hope so. Check back later for updates. Robert
Click on the September archive and then click on comments to see all of the 2009 display blogs. I am going to start blogging with a "Title" and also put the post into the blog so it can be archived by month. Should have done that to begin with. If you are new to this world of "Animated Displays", I suggest you not only read mine, but other blogs. They will help you learn NOT to make the same mistakes others have.